Arts & Culture Cities Weekend Getaways

How to Do a Weekend in Albuquerque

Made famous by Breaking Bad, New Mexico’s largest city makes for a quirky weekend trip. I found my trip here to be relaxing and inspired by the elements. From Native American influences to a Main Street that’s part of Route 66, the city offers a variety of architecture, cuisine, and culture. Here’s how to do a weekend in Albuquerque and get a glimpse of it all.

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The Hotel: Los Poblanos Ranch & Inn

As you make the turn down the tree-lined road to Los Poblanos Ranch & Inn, you’re instantly hit with the smell of lavender and enchanted by this working farm from the ’30s. Accommodations range from rooms at the original inn to the newly built farmhouses that skirt the lavender fields and roaming llamas. The property has an outdoor pool, event space, an onsite restaurant called Campo, and a farm shop that sells goods made with in-house harvested lavender. Inside the shop is a cafe stand that sells unique drinks like iced lavender lattes. It’s hard to want to leave the property, but when you do, here’s a suggested itinerary for a weekend in Albuquerque.

Itinerary: How to Do a Weekend in Albuquerque

weekend guide to albuquerque


  • Afternoon: Arrive and check into Los Poblanos. If you arrive early, take a ride on the Sandia Tram. Fun Fact: Sandia means “watermelon” in Spanish, and the mountain is named after the pink color it turns during sunrise and sunset.
  • Night: Head to the Casa Rondeña Winery tasting room, which only a few minutes’ drive away. For dinner, go to El Pinto, which is known for its free-range “hen hotel.” It’s the only animal welfare-approved restaurant in the U.S. Try the world-class margaritas and homemade (and generously distributed) salsa.


  • Morning: Rise early for a hot air balloon ride with Rainbow Ryders. Afterward, check out the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum, located at Balloon Fiesta Park, where the city’s famous annual hot air balloon festival takes place.
  • Afternoon: Orient yourself with the city on a bike tour with Routes Bicycle Tours. You can pick from several themes, like Breaking Bad, Bike & Brew, and more.
  • Night: Eat at Farm & Table, where you literally can see the farm where the fresh ingredients in your food come from. Then head to downtown Albuquerque and see a show at the historic KiMo Theatre (and if no show is playing, you can take a tour).


  • Morning: Enjoy breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant, Campo. The avocado toast and lavender latte are to die for.
  • Afternoon: Pick a day trip. I went to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. Leave plenty of time to hike the trails and take photos in the slot canyon. If you have time, go to nearby Cochiti Lake for a swim or stand-up paddleboarding.


Restaurants & Cafes

Day Trips


Highlights from my Weekend in ABQ:


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SmarterTravel Editor Ashley Rossi traveled to Albuquerque courtesy of Visit Albuquerque. Follow her adventures (big and small) on Twitter and Instagram.

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By Ashley Rossi

Ashley Rossi is always ready for her next trip. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram for travel tips, destination ideas, and off the beaten path spots.

After interning at SmarterTravel, Ashley joined the team full time in 2015. She's lived on three continents, but still never knows where her next adventure will take her. She's always searching for upcoming destination hotspots, secluded retreats, and hidden gems to share with the world.

Ashley's stories have been featured online on USA Today, Business Insider, TripAdvisor, Huffington Post, Jetsetter, and Yahoo! Travel, as well as other publications.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "A reusable filtered water bottle—it saves you money, keeps you hydrated, and eliminates waste—win-win."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "A week in a bamboo beach hut on India's Andaman Islands."

Travel Motto: "Travel light, often, and in good company."

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Window—best view in the house."

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